- Many people want laser hair removal, but everyone wonders: "How much does laser hair removal cost?"
Laser hair removal can be surprisingly affordable. When time is at a premium, laser can produce fast results ultimately at a fraction of the cost of electrolysis. To determine your exact cost of laser hair removal treatment, we need to see the area(s) you want treated. During your consultation appointment we will provide you with your cost of service.
- How does Candela GentleLASE Plus® hair removal work?
The Candela GentleLASE laser is a non-invasive light therapy device specifically designed to eliminate unwanted hair from all parts of the body. The Candela GentleLASE generates a pulse of intense, concentrated light which is directed through a small handpiece when it is applied to the treatment site.
This laser energy passes through the skin to the hair follicle, where the energy is absorbed by pigment in the hair and hair follicle, causing selective damage to the hair root without damaging delicate pores and structures of the skin. The laser is pulsed, or "turned on", for only a fraction of a second. The duration of the pulses is carefully calibrated so that laser energy will be absorbed by the hair follicle without transferring excessive heat to the surrounding skin.
Some of the hair which was in the treated follicles is ejected during treatment, and the rest is shed over the next 2-3 weeks. The surface of the skin is protected by the Dynamic Cooling Device. This device sprays a short burst of cryogen to the skin to cool and protect the epidermis. The spray is computer calibrated to work with your skin type. This protects the skin while effectively treating the unwanted hair.
Unlike "hair-by-hair" treatments with electrolysis, the laser uses a wide beam which treats many hairs at once. Because the Candela GentleLASE can treat dozens of hairs with each pulse, it is possible to treat larger areas such as the back, shoulders, arms, legs and face. The Candela GentleLASE can be used just about anywhere on the body Even sensitive areas such as the nipples, upper lip and bikini line can be treated easily. The laser's design allows us to customize treatment, according to your hair and skin color, hair texture, and location on the body.
Candela GentleLASE treatment is a safe, fast, gentle and effective method for hair removal. In just a few treatment sessions using the gentle power of laser, you can greatly improve the appearance of skin which is disfigured by unwanted hair.
- What areas of the body can be treated?
ALL parts of the body can be treated with the Candela GentleLASE Plus. In women, the most common areas for treatment are upper lip, chin, bikini line, arms and legs, and underarms. In men, the most common areas for treatment are shoulders and back, and the beard area.
- What are the benefits of laser hair removal compared to alternative treatments?
The primary benefits of laser hair removal include:
- Larger areas may be treated with less discomfort than with electrolysis, waxing or tweezing.
- The Candela GentleLASE combines speed, comfort and long lasting results.
- The Candela GentleLASE works on any area of the body where a hair-free appearance is desired.
Shaving, waxing and depilatory creams remove the hair but leave the hair follicles intact, so the hair regrows within one to four weeks in most cases. Candela GentleLASE laser hair removal offers you a long-term reduction in both the amount of hair, and also in many cases a reduction in thickness and color of hair shafts which do grow back.
Hair removal methods like tweezing, waxing or sugaring which cause irritation may actually stimulate hair growth. This happens because one way the body defends itself against having hair yanked out is to produce thicker, stronger hairs which are harder to pull out next time.
Candela GentleLASE hair removal offers long lasting results, and even if hair does eventually grow back it is usually finer in texture and lighter in color than the original hair, and much less of a cosmetic problem.
- What are the advantages over electrolysis?
Removing hair by electrolysis is like mowing grass - one blade at a time. With electrolysis, the operator inserts a needle (probe) into the hair follicle and tries to have the tip reach the hair root. The operator then triggers a small electrical charge to damage the hair root. The hair from that follicle is then removed with tweezers.
Electrolysis can be an excellent technique for the removal of small numbers of hairs, from areas where it is difficult to use the laser (under the eyebrows, near the eyes, and in the ears and nose) and white and very pale blonde hair (which does not absorb laser light efficiently).
We refer patients for electrolysis if we believe the laser cannot be of help, or after we have removed all of the dark hairs that are treatable with the laser.
There can be considerable variation in the results between electrolysis therapists, and the rate of permanent hair loss has been reported to be from 15 to 50%. Electrolysis is a tedious process and a difficult undertaking for patients. Even a small area like the face, for example, in the case of a woman with heavy facial hair, may require electrolysis for 2 -3 hours per week for 2 years, with further treatments over an undetermined period of time, for a total treatment time exceeding 200 hours. Hair removal is much faster with a laser because each "pulse" of laser light disables a large numbers of hair follicles and pulses can be delivered as often as once every second. Electrolysis operators can only treat those hairs that they can see and which they can reach the follicle through the hair shaft. The Candela GentleLASE treats all "active" follicles, even if the hair has not yet reached the surface of the skin, is "ingrown", or if the hair shaft is not straight.
- Is laser hair removal covered by insurance?
Most private insurance companies do not offer reimbursement for "cosmetic" procedures like laser hair removal; however, consult your insurance carrier for more information. The removal of unwanted terminal hair for the management of hirsutism, congenital or drug-relate hypertrichosis, pseudofolliculitis, transsexual states, and some skin grafts may be covered by some private insurance plans. We do not file for insurance reimbursement.
- Is the cost of laser hair removal a tax deductible medical expense?
Laser hair removal is not a tax deductible medical expenditure UNLESS the hair is part of a genetic or hormonal condition where laser hair removal is prescribed by a doctor. Please check with your accountant or with the IRS for more information.
- What are the risks of laser hair removal?
Short-term side effects may include a slight reddening of the skin or local swelling which typically lasts less than an hour, although it may infrequently last a few days. . Rarely (perhaps 2-4 cases out of a hundred) there can be increased or decreased pigment in the treated area. This is seldom a major cosmetic problem, and generally resolves after a few months. Even a single blister (rather like tiny sunburn) is very rare (less than one in a hundred). The light from the Candela GentleLASE does not cause skin cancer.
Unlike plucking, waxing and sugaring, laser hair removal does not run the risk of making hair grow back thicker, darker or quicker. After laser treatment hair growth will frequently be delayed, AND when hair does grow back, it is often lighter, finer and less dense.
- Is laser hair removal "permanent"?
"Permanent hair removal" means: "ALL the hair is gone, FOREVER!"
There is NO hair removal method (including laser) which can guarantee "permanent hair removal". The most realistic description of the results after laser treatment is: "long-term hair REDUCTION". This means: "After four to six treatments the total amount of hair is greatly reduced - generally by 70% to 90% - and hair which does grow is often much finer and lighter in color." Most people are very pleased with this degree of improvement, as long as they know that this is what to expect before they have laser hair removal treatment.
It is important for you to realize that after having between four and six treatment sessions it is VERY LIKELY that there WILL BE a very substantial reduction in both the amount of hair and also a reduction in the thickness and color of the hair in the treated areas. You should expect that this reduction in hair may last for many years.
Because lasers have been used for hair removal for only the last seven years, we can't know if the results will continue to be felt in 10 or 20 years. However, we do know that stable, long-term hair reduction commonly lasts for at least two years, and some patients who had their last treatment six or seven years ago are still enjoying a high degree of hair reduction.
- Should I expect to be "hair free" in the treated area after the series of treatments?
No, most patients experience an 80-90% reduction in the amount of hair in a given area, and a reduction in the thickness and color of the remaining hair, but should not expect to be "hair free".
It has been suggested that a 6 month follow-up may be sufficient to assess final outcome after the final laser hair removal session, because once regrowth had stabilized (usually within 6 months), there is usually little or no change in hair counts at 6,12, and 24 months.
Certain medications, hormonal changes, and other factors may stimulate dormant hairs to become active resulting in new hair growth.
- How much hair will grow back, and how fast will it grow back?
Lasers work by destroying hair roots which are active at the time of treatment, and which have enough pigment to absorb sufficient laser energy. The hair shafts in the treated hair follicles will fall out, or be "shed" 1-3 weeks after treatment.
After the first treatment, hair regrowth may resume within a few weeks or it may be anywhere from 2-4 months before any true hair growth is observed, as previously dormant hair follicles become active, and hair follicles which were stunned but not killed recover and start to produce hair shafts again. Some people find that there is not much extra hair reduction after the second treatment, then they notice a substantial further reduction after the third or more commonly the fourth treatment. After four to six treatments there may be little or no regrowth for many years. In other cases you may wish to have additional treatment after a period of time.
Hairs that regrow after laser treatment generally are finer and lighter in color, and so are much less of a cosmetic problem. Reductions in coarseness and color can occur independently of each other.
New terminal hair appearing in androgen-sensitive sites (face, axillae and genital area) after successful laser epilation could result from androgen-stimulated conversion of previously dormant vellus hairs, which are not affected by the laser as long as they remain dormant and unpigmented.
- Why are at least 3-6 treatment sessions usually needed?
All lasers work by disabling hairs that are in their active growth cycle at the time of treatment. Hair follicles in their "dormant" phase have no hair shaft in them and so will not be affected by the laser. Because hair follicles cycle through "active" and "dormant" phases, additional sessions are usually desired once the "dormant" follicles become "active", and also to deal with hair follicles which were stunned but not killed by previous treatment.
The other group of hair follicles which could produce dark terminal hair in the future are the fine vellus "peach fuzz" follicles which have no pigment and so are not affected by laser treatment. If some of these fine little "peach fuzz" follicles mature into terminal hair follicles, they can be treated with laser at that time.
There is NO treatment which will kill 100% of the hair follicles, 100% of the time. Laser hair removal is not an exact science because there are so many variables. Your laser technician can discuss "averages" and give you an estimate of the number of treatments based on past experience.
At any one time, 50 to 85% of your hair follicles are in the active (anagen) phase but only 1/4 to 1/3 of your hairs have enough of the pigment in their ROOTS to absorb the laser beam which destroys the hair root. So, about 1/4 to 1/3 (25% to 33%) of your hair roots are good targets for the laser beam, and can be damaged or destroyed in a single laser session.
Because 1/4 to 1/3 of the actively growing pigmented hair roots are damaged or destroyed in any one session, almost all people will want a minimum of three to four treatments to reach a satisfactory degree of hair reduction, and many people will wish to have more than four treatments, most commonly 5 to 8 treatments; and in some cases another session in six to twelve months to eliminate any terminal hairs which have developed when vellus hair follicles mature into terminal hair follicles
The number of treatments depends on:
- the desired degree of hair reduction (as the amount of hair declines, some people become very enthusiastic and want even LESS hair than they had originally planned on).
- hair color (people with naturally light colored hair need more treatments. Very pale blond hair does not have enough pigment to absorb laser light.
- ethnic and genetic background
- hormonal status
- area being treated
- hair density
- weight (obesity can increase hair growth)
- medication (for example medicines like Dilantin and cyclosporine can increase hair growth)
There is no safety limit on the number of treatments a person can have. People who have been partially treated with other types of hair removing laser might in some cases need less than 3 laser treatments to reach a satisfactory degree of long-term hair reduction.
- Previous laser treatment or electrolysis? No problem!
Candela GentleLASE has been successfully used on many people who were not able to tolerate - or did not obtain satisfactory results with electrolysis, or with older laser systems.
- Am I a good candidate for laser hair removal?
The unique design of the Candela GentleLASE allows treatment of people with most skin colors, and treatment of even light brown hair. Because hair which is naturally pale blond, light red or white does not have enough pigment in the roots, it cannot be reliably treated with any type of laser. Fewer treatments are needed when the hair is dark and the skin is light colored - so to get maximum effect from each session avoid tanning.
Children can be treated, for example if they have a congenital nevus or other problem with excessive hair, but the children must be old enough (for example, 12 years old) to understand and cooperate with treatment. We frequently treat young, preteen girls who have developed dark hair on the upper lips.
- Which hair colors respond best to treatment?
Because lasers target the PIGMENT in hair roots, lasers work best on black or brown hair. Light brown or auburn hair may require more treatment sessions. White hair does not respond to treatment - so get your hair removed before you get old and your hair turns white!
- Questions to ask yourself when considering laser hair reduction:
- How much are you bothered by your facial hair? Hair on other areas?
- How much are you bothered by the time you spend removing, treating, or concealing your facial hair? Hair on other areas?
- How uncomfortable does your facial or other unwanted hair make you feel in exchanges of affection (such as intimate exchanges with your partner)?
- How uncomfortable does your unwanted hair make you feel when you meet new people?
- How uncomfortable does your unwanted hair make you feel when you go to social gatherings, dine out in a public restaurant, go to a supermarket or other public place?
- How uncomfortable does your unwanted hair make you feel when you go to work or class?
- What is Unwanted Female Facial Hair?
Growth of hair on the face which is coarser, longer or more profuse than is "normal" for the age and race of the woman. Unwanted Facial Hair is a chronic problem for about 22 million American women who remove facial hair at least once a week.
- How can I get the best value from each treatment?
To get the best results with the smallest number of treatment sessions, please pay attention to the following guidelines as you work with us:
- Avoid waxing / sugaring / plucking / EpiLady and electrolysis
Because the laser beam seeks out and destroys ACTIVELY GROWING hair roots, it is important (if you want to get the best value from your treatment) NOT to wax / pluck / sugar / use EpiLady-type pluckers or have electrolysis for at least FOUR WEEKS before laser treatment. These things temporarily remove the pigmented part of the hair follicle which the laser needs to use as a target when it destroys the hair follicle.
- Tanning should be avoided!
The Candela GentleLASE is safe and effective laser for most types of skin. Many Italian, Greek, and East Asian have been successfully treated with the Candela GentleLASE. BUT: the lighter your skin color at the time of treatment, the better the laser beam can get through the skin to the hair roots, where it is needed.
If you avoid tanning and stop using artificial "tanning" creams for six weeks before treatment, you will get the maximum possible benefit from each treatment session. People with very darker skin need extra sessions to reach their desired degree of long-term hair reduction. It is also a good idea to minimize tanning for a few weeks after laser treatment, to reduce the chance that your tan will be somewhat uneven. Protect yourself by using a sunscreen on all treated areas before, during and after treatments.
- Shaving or clipping the hair?
Shaving or clipping the area to be treated is not a problem. In fact, we like the areas to be shaved the day of treatment or the day before. Some people find that the skin is less sensitive if it is shaved at least a few hours before treatment. Another advantage of shaving the area to be treated BEFORE you come in is that YOU can shape the area to be treated exactly the way YOU want it to be. This is of particular importance in areas like the sideburns, temples, and bikini line. Excess hair must be removed from the treatment area before treatment, because hair ABOVE the surface of the skin will simply absorb and waste laser energy and keep it from getting to the hair roots, where it is needed. Contrary to popular belief, shaving DOES NOT make hair grow back thicker, faster, darker or more profusely! So go ahead and shave before treatment, and between treatments!
Because the laser beam only acts on the hair ROOTS, it is OK to bleach hair in the areas to be treated because bleaching will not affect the color of the roots. We do prefer that you stop bleaching before your first visit so that we can see the hair to be treated and give you an accurate evaluation.
It takes 4 to 8 weeks for the next crop of hair roots to become active and develop pigment which is the target for the laser. So, to get the best value from your treatments, you treatments will be scheduled at 4-8 weeks intervals. There is no harm in having treatments MORE FREQUENTLY than every 4-8 weeks, or having treatments less than 4 weeks after waxing, plucking, etc. - but this is less efficient, and could increase the total number of treatments needed to get a good result.
There are a few medications which should not be taken while you are getting laser treatment. Anabolic steroids should certainly NOT be taken unless medically necessary, because these can increase male-pattern hair growth in some cases. We cannot treat you if you are presently or have recently used Accutane or Bactrim. Women who take injections of Climacteron (testosterone & estradiol) as part of therapy for menopause and to increase libido often experience unwanted hair growth, which can be treated with laser hair removal.
Medicines which inhibit hair growth (for example, spironolactone, Diane-35 birth control pills, Euflex, Androcur and Vaniqa cream) might slightly reduce the pigment in hair roots and make laser treatment less efficient, but this seldom interferes with the effectiveness of laser treatment. Laser hair removal can certainly be done WHILE you are on those medicines, if you wish. These "anti-androgenic" medicines produce gradual but temporary effects, and will not remove unwanted hair from areas that are independent of androgen regulation.
Pretreatment with medicines like Acyclovir, Valtrex or Famvir may be necessary if you tend to get a lot of cold sores in the area to be treated.
- What is a "test area", and why is it performed?
"Test areas" are small areas of skin that are treated at various laser energy levels prior to treatment. "Test areas" are to determine the level of energy that is best for that individual. On darker skin types, these tests are reviewed one week later to make sure there was no burning or pigment change. Light skin types generally don't have to wait because test results are fairly rapid.
- Moles, freckles and tattoos in the area to be treated?
Small moles and freckles do not require special precautions. Large, dark moles and freckles which are to be treated will require a reduction in the intensity of the laser light, the same way that the intensity would be reduced when treating a dark-skinned or tanned person. We do not treat hair in tattooed areas, but this is seldom a problem because quite often there is not much hair growth in tattoos. Be sure to tell us if you have permanent lip liner or permanent eyebrows, because these are tattoos and special precautions are needed if there will be laser treatment near those areas.
- What will happen on the treatment day?
Lasting hair removal has never been this easy! Other than your regular skin care routine, there is no standard "prep" for this procedure. Please do not wear makeup on the areas to be treated, because some kinds of makeup can absorb and waste laser energy, or even heat up to the point where your skin would be irritated. Makeup will need to be removed before treatment, and may be reapplied after two hours. Do not apply vaseline, lip balm or other heavy petroleum based products on the area to be treated. There are no restrictions on what you may eat or drink prior to your appointment.
After all of your last minute questions have been answered and paperwork handled, the areas you wish to have treated will be cleansed. Everyone in the treatment room must wear protective goggles when the laser is turned on. The Candela GentleLASE is a high powered laser system, and can cause eye injury if proper eye wear is not worn.
The length of the procedure itself can range from a few minutes for the upper lip to an hour or more (for example, full legs, a man's chest and back).
If you decide before coming in that you would like to have additional areas treated, please call ahead so that we can schedule enough time to accommodate your needs.
- Does it hurt?
The laser emits only light. You may feel a tingling or snapping sensation like a rubber band. There is no bleeding and no open wound is created. Some people find the FIRST laser treatment more uncomfortable than subsequent treatments. This is because there are more hair roots which are destroyed during the first treatment; and perhaps also because some people are more apprehensive during the first treatment, because they are not sure of what to expect.
While some areas of the body like the upper lip and pubic hair area are more sensitive than others, many patients report little or no discomfort. Your technician is well-trained in discomfort techniques and will prepare your treatment accordingly. If you are scheduled to have topical anesthetic applied, ample time will be allowed. People who have had waxing, sugaring, and/or electrolysis (or treatment with other lasers) usually report that Candela GentleLASE causes less discomfort, and sometimes there is almost no discomfort.
The Candela GentleLASE features the Dynamic Cooling Device (DCD). This device sprays a short burst of cryogen to the skin a split second prior to pulsing. This coolant protects the skin and makes the treatment more comfortable for you. The cooling spray can be adjusted to suit your skin type and hair type and is computer calibrated for carefully controlled delivery.
We use a topical anesthetic gel in very sensitive areas or by those who think they have a very low pain threshold. A decision to use topical is determined at your initial consultation visit. At the time of your consult, you will be advised which topical creams you should use post treatment. Some people find it helpful to take two or three plain Tylenol and/or Advil a couple of hours before coming in for treatment. Some women find that they are more sensitive during their menstrual cycles; however, this would not preclude treatment.
- What will happen after treatment?
Generalized redness and edema are quite common after treatment. These symptoms usually subside within an hour or so. Some patients report redness lasting for up to 48 hours which is still within acceptable norms. In most cases, redness has faded greatly by the time you get home. It would not be uncommon for the skin to be slightly drier that evening. There are no limitations to your activities; however, we ask that you do not take a hot shower or bath for the first day. We will ask you not to workout or engage in any physical activity that may cause sweating for the first 24 hours. Our experience has shown that better results are achieved with less irritation when you do not reheat the skin with hot water or exercise.
- Why does the hair sometimes look like it's "growing" for 1-3 weeks after laser treatment?
Lasers destroy hair roots which are active at the time of treatment, but do not remove hair shafts instantly. Hair shafts in the treated hair follicles will fall out, or be "shed" mostly in the first week after treatment, with all of the treated hairs falling out within 2-3 weeks.
It is normal that some hairs in the treated area may not fall out within 2-3 weeks. These will be treated in the next session.
These hairs which are being shed will come out on their own. It is best not to shave the treated area. If the skin is irritated, use only soft wash clothes and mild soap and moisturizing creams. You may use exfoliating gloves in the treated area but it is not really necessary.
- Are there any restrictions on my activity after treatment?
Since the laser does not burn or cut the skin in any way, no bandages are necessary. You can return to work the same day and resume all your regular activities. Please do not tan the skin or use tanning creams between treatments. Tanning between treatments can increase the risk of hyperpigmentation and uneven skin coloration. It is OK to resume shaving or clipping hair in the treated area after 3-4 days. Do not tweeze, wax or sugar the hair between treatments. In the bikini area, it is best not to shave at all between treatments to avoid ingrown hair problems.
Shaving really is the BEST temporary way to remove unwanted hair before and between laser treatments. Shaving leaves the hair SHAFT in the hair follicle, so the hair shaft can be a target for laser energy, heat up and KILL the hair follicle.
- Are there different types of lasers?
Several wavelengths of laser energy have been used for hair removal and tattoo removal. These lasers are characterized by their wavelength, measured in nanometers (nm).
- Argon: 488 nm. No longer used for hair removal.
- Ruby laser: 694.3 nm. No longer used for hair removal; only safe for patients with very pale skin.
- Alexandrite: 755 nm. Most effective on lighter skin and not safe on darker skin at effective settings.
- Pulsed diode array: 810 nm. For pale to medium type skin.
- Nd:YAG laser: 1064 nm. For treating darker skin types, though effective on all skin types.
- IPL, intense pulsed light: 810 nm. Not a laser but used for hair removal, for pale to medium type skin.
- What is the best laser machine for hair removal?
The Alexandrite laser is considered by many in the field of laser hair removal to be the gold standard laser. This is true if you have a lighter skin type. However, if your skin is darkly pigmented you will get the best results with a laser specifically designed for your skin type - the YAG laser. We carry both lasers in our facility.
- With Laser Hair Removal or Laser Tattoo Removal Should I be worried about "radiation" to my skin?
NO. LASER stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There are two basic types of radiation, (1) Non-ionizing radiation, and (2) Ionizing radiation. Hair removal lasers and tattoo removal lasers produce "non-ionizing" radiation which is simply the radiation of light, and is FDA approved for your skin. Ionizing radiation which represents x-rays, ultra-violet and nuclear radiation is a completely different type of radiation, and is not produced by hair and tattoo removal lasers.
- Does Laser hair and tattoo removal cause cancer?
NO. Laser hair and tattoo removal does not cause cancer because it uses non-ionizing radiation to perform procedures. The United States Department of Labor defines non-ionizing radiation as "a series of energy waves composed of oscillating electric and magnetic fields traveling at the speed of light." This type of radiation produces intense heat but does not cause cell mutation. In fact, non-ionizing radiation surrounds us every day. Sources of this type of radiation include ultraviolet light, visible light, power lines, cellular phones, microwave and many household appliances. The lasers used for hair removal produce much the same type of heat as an ordinary light bulb.